The official Chinese reaction to Hillary Clinton's candid comments to me has come in, and it is entirely predictable. From Reuters:
China's foreign ministry on Thursday downplayed comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the country was on a "fool's errand" to try to halt the march of freedom, suggesting the remarks were taken out of context.
In an interview with the Atlantic magazine published on Tuesday, the last day of a strategic economic dialogue between China and the United States in Washington, Clinton took the Chinese to task in some of her most vivid language to date.
"They're worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool's errand," she said in the April 7 interview, which focused largely on political upheaval in the Middle East. "They cannot do it. But they're going to hold it off as long as possible."
But Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the comments did not distract from the overall successful tone of the Washington meetings.
"I think perhaps you have taken the quotes out of context, and ought to look at the full picture to understand the U.S. appraisal of the talks' achievements," Jiang told a regular news briefing in Beijing, when asked about Clinton's interview.
Here's the context, for anyone who wants to look. This episode reminded me of my recent encounter with Cuba's spin-doctors, who asserted, after Fidel Castro told me that the "Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," that what Fidel meant was that the Cuban model worked just fine. The next week, of course, the Cuban government announced plans to lay-off a half-million state workers and open up the country to private enterprise.
I just have no luck with Communists, I guess.